Tuesday, October 16, 2018

50-year-old advertisement for Haggar slacks

This advertisement for Haggar slacks appears on the back cover of the souvenir guidebook for HemisFair '68, an official World's Fair that was held in San Antonio, Texas, from April 6 through October 6, 1968. The fair had as its primary legacy the introduction of the proto-H.R. Pufnstuf, then named Luther. (Which isn't nearly as bad as the 1893 Chicago fair's "legacy" being that H.H. Holmes was working nearby and attended the event with some of his eventual victims.)

While the particular style of slacks in the advertisement has perhaps gone out of style, Haggar has not. It was founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1926 by Lebanese immigrant (as the company website proudly points out) Joseph Marion Haggar Sr., rose to become the top brand of pants in America in 1970, and is still a robust clothing manufacturer today. It also has an eco-friendly line of clothes made from upcycled water bottles, and that certainly makes up for the fact that you can no longer get plaid Haggar slacks at your local Sears Target.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Old inscription and a lighthearted threat of missed turkey

The above inscription appears on the first page of The Sick-A-Bed Lady, an actual hardcover book that was published 107 years ago, in October 2011.

The book, by Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, is actual a collection of stories. It's not just one long novel about a lady who's sick in bed, because that might become ponderous quickly. The title page gives this fuller title (which clearly would not fit on the cover): The Sick-A-Bed Lady and Also Hickory Dock, The Very Tired Girl1, The Happy-Day, Something That Happened in October, The Amateur Lover, Heart of the City, The Pink Sash, Woman's Only Business.

The frontispiece, still protected by tissue paper, has the caption "That will help you remember where your mouth is," and I'll just leave it at that. The book is dedicated "To The Memory of Two Fathers."2

The last line of the book is "Across the young, tremulous, vibrant greensward I heard the throb-throb-throb of a man's feet — running." I think greensward is just a fancy word for lawn, and I'm not sure how it could be "tremulous."

Anyway, throb-throb-throb aside, the interesting part of this book is the aforementioned inscription, written in lovely cursive ink. It states:
It may be lots of fun to be a sick-abed Lady, but if you don't get well "P.D.Q." you'll miss the turkey.
P.D.Q. was a polite way of saying "Pretty Damn Quick" — immediately, directly, forthwith, pronto or straightaway. Does anyone out there still use it in 2018?

1. Possibly a prequel to The Sick-A-Bed Lady.
2. Possibly Greg Evigan and Paul Reiser.1

Secondary footnote
1. Do you think Paul Reiser got eaten by that xenomorph? Or do you reckon he talked his way out of it?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Edward Gorey bookplate inside
Budd Schulberg novel

This nifty old Edward Gorey bookplate is affixed to the inside front cover of a 1950 hardcover edition of Budd Schulberg's The Disenchanted.1 The bookplate is copyright 1953 and thus is from the early period of Gorey's career, when he was about 28, and according to Wikipedia, living in Manhattan and working for the art department of Doubleday Anchor, illustrating book covers and sometimes adding interior illustrations.

These Gorey bookplates, from Antioch Publishing, are fairly collectible. This very afternoon, never-used originals are selling for $8.95 apiece on eBay. There's also — and this is the better deal — an eBay offer of the original box containing the Gorey bookplates, plus the last five bookplates, for $20 plus shipping.

As far of provenance of this bookplate, Thelma L. Kelley is a little too common of a name and not quite enough information to positively determine her identity. A quick Google search provided two reasonable possibilities right off the bat. Whoever is she was, though, she had great taste in bookplates.

To delve into previous posts about Gorey, start here.

1. Of the novel, James Hartley has this to say on Goodreads: "This is a book that deserves to be called a classic. Hunt it out if you´ve never heard of it; if you have any interest in drunken writers, the history and workings of Hollywood, the reality of being a writer, the hangover of success, hangovers in generally, or simply working with someone who is impossible to work with."

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday's postcard: Little Boy Blue, and Auntie Em is mad

This postcard is a companion, in two ways, to the "Pretty maids all in a row" postcard from September 2015. First off, the publisher appears to be identifiable only by the logo on the back, which features a raptor of some sort with a ribbon and some arrows (pictured at right). Second, the postcard features another short note from Auntie Em to Gladys.

The nursery rhyme on the front is Little Boy Blue, with this particular wording:

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn.
Where's the little boy that tends the sheep?
Under the haycock, fast asleep.

This postcard was mailed from Brooklyn, New York, and postmarked on August 11, 1910, a day on which the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3, behind a complete-game effort by George Lemuel "Long Bob" Ewing.

It was mailed to Mrs. Gladys Gorman, care of the McCann's Hotel in Highlands, New Jersey. The cursive message states:
Gladys Gorman
I'm mad at you, you never wrote me the Postal you promised me. Tell Auntie Mar little Johns papa did not see the man with the Boat as he has been very busy. But maybe we will take trip up for a day anyhow soon. Love to all & yourself from yours Lovingly, Auntie Em.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

From the readers: Sennen Cove, witchcraft and inspiration for a song

Esther's Field in Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Melissa Buron, who helped get Ruth Manning-Sanders' A Book of Mermaids back into print, sent me a recent email with the following information:
I was researching Ruth Manning-Sanders and I thought you would be interested to know that you can actually stay in one of the homes that she and her family lived in during the 1930s. She was a neighbor of the writer Mary Butts and is mentioned often in Mary's diary at the time. The home is called "Esther's Field" and you can see it here: https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p413733.
Indeed, the copyright for Manning-Sanders' 1938 novel Children by the Sea indicates that her address is Esther's Field, Sennen, Cornwall, England. So, yes, it's pretty amazing that one could now stay there for about £136 ($180) per night.

Here are some highlights from HomeAway's description of the dwelling:
Thatched farmhouse with large garden a few minutes' walk from a stunning beach.
Esther's Field is a stunning 17th-century granite house with thatched roof set into the hillside above the beautiful white sands of Sennen Cove with fantastic views of the beach and sea from almost every window. ... The house feels spacious and relaxing — you will enjoy complete peace and seclusion, while still being within walking distance of everything. The house sits in an acre of private garden with a large central lawn, an upper garden, a hidden garden and many little paths and areas to explore. You will find many exotic plants and a summer house full of garden furniture: tables, chairs, benches and steamer chairs so you can relax in every part of the garden. You can walk down to the beautiful white sands of the cove (lovely little shops and restaurants) in a few minutes: fabulous for swimmers and surfers too. The house also sits a minute from the coastal path so you can walk straight out of the house onto the breathtaking coastal paths and enjoy the wonderful coastal walks around Land's End and its many coves and beaches and spot some amazing birds, plants and animals. Esther's Field is beautiful in the spring and summer, and a cosy getaway in the winter months too with wood-fires and books to enjoy.
Here's one more picture, from the 50 that are on the HomeAway site:

* * *

Book cover: "From Witchcraft to World Health": Dad writes: "A pinch of clove, a toad’s ear, crushed worms, tomato seeds, vinegar. Bring to boil. Stir for 10 minutes. Put in a helium balloon and let it drift in the air until it breaks and drops like rain to cure the world. Witchcraft and save the world."

America, in a mystery snapshot: Wendyvee, who energizes the eclectic Roadside Wonders website, writes: "Most definitely a Buick Century AND you get bonus points for lodestar and sunkenariums. Winner, Winner, chicken dinner."

Notes, scribbles and doodles on the back of an old postcard: Alana Thevenet, who is mentioned in one of this post's footnotes, writes: "I am Alana Thevenet, the one you mention in your notes. William was Wilhelm F. Thevenet, who was born in 1870 in Wassergasse, Pforzheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. He was married to Helga Klara Ellonora Paulsen, who was born in 1868 in Kristiania, Akershus, Norway. If you would like more information, please let me know."

Note: I'm definitely in the process of trying to learn more from Alana. Stay tuned!

Mix tape memories: Tom from Garage Sale Finds writes: "I was never hip to trends, so when my friend sent me a mix tape back in the 80's, I had no idea what it was all about. After listening to it, I still wasn't sure what I was supposed to get out of it. Was it a personal message to me? Was it his thoughts? At the risk of not sounding hip, I never did ask him."

From the readers: Treasured copy of "Andersen's Fairy Tales": Margaret writes: "I also have a copy of Andersen's Fairy Tales. #0546. The cover is different from yours. My book cover is mainly green with a centered oval picture of 2 children sleeping and a red outfitted 'elf' nearby. This book has 3 stories: 'The Little Mermaid', 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier', and 'The Snow Queen'. All translated from Danish by Carl Siewers. The publishers were Graham & Matlack. I totally agree with you on the dates of possible publishing. I think the fun of the research is as interesting if not more than some of these books. I did find an interesting tidbit online which made a lot of sense and added to my research about these publishers and many like them: 'This cheaply illustrated and printed book is a good example of how much borrowing went on among many of the publishers who brought out versions of many books in the decades after the copyright lapsed.' It explains why there are no dates in this book and the 'cheap' materials used. But, we have to remember, these books were also made for the folks who could not afford the pretty much more expense editions. So, yes they were treasures to the children who read these books and now the the many collectors."

Gravity gone wild, atomic nonsense at Mystery House in St. Augustine: Robert Robinson writes: "The was also a House of Mystery in Haines City, Florida, during that time frame."

Going back 45 years for a product that I'm not putting in the headline: Wendyvee writes: "When illustrators were taught to create fashion drawings, that used to be the prevalent 'hand style'. Feet are often just triangles with shoes. AND NOW YOU KNOW."

"Atomic Explosion and the End of All Things" By H.E.M. Snyder: Brenda writes: "Hi Chris, are you the author of the poem 'It Didn't Just Happen?' Someone submitted that poem for me to use in our church letter, and I want to get permission from the author to do so, but I’m not sure who wrote it? Was it you? If so, may I have permission to use it?"

I replied: "I am not the author. My best guess is that the author is the late H.E.M. Snyder, who was a pastor in York County, Pennsylvania, in the middle of the 20th century."

Advertising trade card for J.P. Julius piano store of York, Pa.: Joan writes: "Hey, we both get full custody of the ephemera. It's blogging open season. Seriously, this is very cool. I will make sure I add a reference in that Weaver post to this extra info. People are always asking me about them."

Postcard of "Wheatland" mailed 90 years ago: Wendyvee writes: "But I LOVE 'onery' people and cheap side show stuff!"

Creepy and dilapidated structures of the eastern United States, Part 1: Marc Lussier writes: "Hi Sir, I was looking for a photo of an old inn picture to use as an image to go along with a song I made and felt on your blog. Would you give me the permission to use it please. My name is Marc and I'm from Quรฉbec, Montrรฉal. Your website is super interesting by the way. I saved it to my favorite."

Permission granted. Hope the song turns out well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thank you, Norman Reedus
(Lost Corners of the Internet)

Norman Reedus, star of The Walking Dead, went out of his way this morning to do a really sweet thing for my daughter. Earlier this month, she had spinal fusion surgery to address severe scoliosis, and it's been rough recovery thus far, with precisely the ups and downs you might imagine would follow such a procedure. She's been a super trouper, courageous and hard-working, and has battled through the pain as the recovery has progressed.

But it's nice to get an extra boost here and there. And she got a huge one this morning when Reedus, her favorite actor by a country mile, gave her a shout-out on Twitter (shown above) and Instagram.

I bring this up not to crow, brag or engage in celebrity worship, but because — as I've mentioned often — I'm genuinely interested in how certain elements of our online culture, and specifically social media, will be preserved for the ages. This was A Moment for her. But it's not like she received an autograph in the mail or Davy Jones knocked on the front door to visit and pose for photographs with the whole bunch of us. Norman's nod to Sarah was an exchange that existed entirely in cyberspace.

I'm certain Sarah and other members of Generation Z will come up with their own preferred and innovative methods for preserving and "scrapbooking" the ephemeral digital moments that are important to them. This middle-aged guy, meanwhile, is just going to handle it as he always does, through blogging, screenshots and printouts.

Book cover: "The Iceberg Express"

  • Title: The Iceberg Express
  • Author: David Cory (1872-1966)
  • That name is familiar. Yes, Cory's Puss in Boots, Jr. In Fairyland was featured on Papergreat in September 2016.
  • Series: Little Journeys to Happyland (#3 of 5)
  • Illustrator: P.H. Webb
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York
  • Cover price: Unknown.
  • Publication year: 1922
  • Pages: 154
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Advertising material on dust jacket flap: Little Journeys to Happyland. Individual Colored Wrappers. Profusely Illustrated. Printed in large type — easy to read. For Children from 4 to 8 years. This series is unique in that it deals with unusual and exciting adventures on land and sea and in the air.
  • Is it "Profusely Illustrated"? No. That's a bit of an exaggeration.
  • First sentence: One bright morning in August little Mary Louise put on her hat and went trudging across the meadow to the beach.
  • What does Mary Louise discover? A mermaid.
  • Last sentences: Well, well, have we come to the end of the story, you and I, little reader? I'm sorry I've nothing more to tell you in this book, but listen — lean over to me and listen — I've written another book for the "Little Journeys to Happyland" series — it is called "The Wind Wagon." Isn't that a strange title? But I know you'll like it — yes, I'm sure you will. So don't forget. It will be published next year. Yours for a story, David Cory. The End.
  • Random sentence from middle: The opera house was guarded by a candy lion, and a fountain in the middle of the town spouted maple syrup.
  • Wait. Is this Hatchy Milatchy? No.
  • Goodreads review: In 2016, Ramona wrote: "Came across this original 1922 hardcover childrens book that my mom had as a child. Delightful little book that takes you back to simpler times — long before reading & using your imagination were taken over by sitting in front of the tv or playing video games."
  • Amazon review: In 2014, Searchtower wrote: "another old story, no gore no violence just imagination."
  • Other series advertised in this book: The Little Washingtons books by Lillian Elizabeth Roy and Tuck-Me-In Tales by Arthur Scott Bailey.

Bonus: From the endpapers
While the book itself is not "profusely illustrated", the endpapers are gorgeous. There are eight separate color illustrations — four in the front of the book and four in the back. Here is one of the illustrations from the front.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Montoursville 2018: Hurr's

Advertisement for the Hurr's Dairy Store in Lock Haven from the August 1, 1964, edition of The (Lock Haven) Express.

When my family lived on Montoursville's Spruce Street in the mid 1970s, we were just a short walk away from our own neighborhood ice-cream shop, the Hurr's Dairy Store on Arch Street. Specifically, I have memories of getting milkshakes and Tastykakes, walking home and enjoying our treats while sitting on the front stoop.

Coincidentally, the Williamsport Sun-Gazette — Williamsport being a few miles west of Montoursville — published an article this past June by Wendy Chestnut titled "Fond memories of neighborhood ice cream shops." The article begins: "The wonderful idea of using cream to make ice cream in the late 1920s and ’30s didn’t go unnoticed locally. Some businessmen, such as John Hurr, rose to the top, just like the cream from which he spun his sweet confection."

The article goes on to say that Hurr's Dairy began in 1921, had its base of operations in South Williamsport, had its name on a dozen stores in the area (including in Montoursville) and spread its footprint across 11 counties. It concludes with this quote, about Hurr's, from George Holmes of Montoursville:
"It was a hang-out after school before we were of driving age. It was the 1950s so there was not a lot of spare money. We could get a one- or two-dip ice cream cone for 10 cents or a milkshake for 25 cents. The basic flavors were vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, teaberry or butter pecan."
While there was more than one Hurr's location in Montoursville, Holmes might be referring to the same Arch Street location that my family walked to in the 1970s. That Arch Street site was also just a stone's throw from Montoursville High School and was likely inundated with hungry students at the end of the school day.

I could not, however, find much else online specifically about the Arch Street Hurr's. So I turned to the "You know you're from Montoursville PA if..." Facebook group for help. Here are some of the great responses I received to my July 21 query:

  • Doug Boyles confirms that it was Hurr's ice cream on the corner of 4th Street and North Arch Street, on the east side of Arch. This jibes 100 percent with my memory.
  • Crystal Miller said: "It was owned by my husband's family, along with more than a dozen other locations, started by my husband's great grandfather and John Hurr."
  • Lou Ann Tom said: "That was Hurr's Dairy Store. My Dad Bill Miller owned the whole business and there were about 30 stores total in the area. He has the whole story about it written but doesn’t know who to give it to to print/publish it."
  • Denny Derr said: "328 Arch Street. It was first run as Murray's (my grandmother), then by my dad (Derr's — following WWII). When my dad moved our store to the Golden Strip, Hurr's occupied the Arch Street store. Gary Williams bought the property when my grandmother sold it mid to late 60's. Since then it’s been only a residence."
  • Eileen Vernarec Craig said: "Monday nights in summer was Dime Night — ice cream cones for a dime."
  • Vicki S. Miller said: "Anyone remember 'dime night' at the Hurr's store? People would line up down Arch Street to get an ice cream cone for a dime. I remember working there one of those nights when someone came in and ordered 20 cones and wanted them wrapped in wax paper and placed in a paper bag. Crazy night!"
  • Linda Taylor Fitzgerald said: "Hurr's had the best peanut butter fudge sundaes. I've spent my life trying to duplicate that recipe."

The Facebook thread raised many memories of Hurr's and other Montoursville family stores — including Eder's and a penny-candy shop. And there were so many mentions of peanut butter fudge. Someone should put together a book with photos and recollections, perhaps one of those Images of America volumes, before it's too late!

* * *
As this mini-series heads toward the finish line — and, yes, I'm definitely starting to run out of steam now that July 13 is so far back in the rearview mirror — here's an updated look at what I envision for the final posts:

  • Our house on Willow Street
  • Other sites around the borough (TWA Flight 800 Memorial, Cellini's, the community pool, etc.)
  • Old postcards
  • Final thoughts